What Is The Cost Of Living In Burlington, VT?

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by Upgraded Home Team

Located just east of the beautiful shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT is an exceptional area for individuals of all ages to call home. Anyone who loves to watch seasons change will be able to take in the beauty of spring, summer, autumn, and winter from the comfort of their home.

As the largest city in the state, Burlington is also home to the University of Vermont. This college town has a healthy mix of activities for all ages to enjoy. With so many wonderful aspects to account for, the question must be asked: What is the cost of living in Burlington, VT?

Housing prices are the single largest contributor to the high cost of living in Burlington, VT. While the rest of Vermont boasts a housing cost score of 88.5, Burlington comes in at 135.5.

The median home value is $312,700 and the average utilities for a 1,800 square foot home exceeds $300 per month. Private education for children is $20,000 per year. Those who commute often can expect to spend over $1,600 each year on gasoline.

The cost of basic living needs is 10% higher than the national average. These include groceries, medical care, and other items. Let’s get into the details about the cost of living in Burlington and the amount you can expect to spend when you call this city home.

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The Cost to Own a Home in Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, VT is home to many students and recent graduates. While many families, professionals, and retirees also call Burlington home, not many residents in the city own their own homes. However, the location of the city and its vast amenities have driven up home prices over the years.

Only 36% of Burlington residents own their own homes. The median home value in Burlington is $312,700, which is a whopping $81,500 higher than the median value in the United States. The high home prices are a large reason why many do not own their own home.

LocationMedian Home ValueHomeownership Rate
United States$231,20067.9%

Homeowners in Burlington spend an average of $1,770 per month between mortgage payments, repairs. Utilities can cost homeowners of an 1,800 square foot home between $400 to $840 each month.

In the past decade, home appreciation in Burlington, VT has risen by 23.9%. This is one of the reasons home prices are much higher than the national average. Those who own a home can see their investment produce significant ROI in the future.

Average Rental Costs in Burlington, Vermont

Of all Burlington residents, 63% are renters. They pay an average of $1,400 per month in rent. As with all rentals, location, size, and amenities will be factors that can influence the rental price of a space. For example, a one-bedroom can start at $1,067 and a three-bedroom starts at $1,890 or more.

The presence of the University of Vermont contributes to the high cost of rentals. Since many students find roommates to lower the costs, those sharing a three-bedroom apartment only pay $630 in rent before utilities. Those who plan on living on their own will find that the high cost of renting an apartment is almost the same cost as a mortgage payment.

Average Burlington Rent by Neighborhood

The following table compares the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the various Burlington neighborhoods:

Neighborhood Average Rent
Old North End$1,550
South End$1,400
New North End$1,750

Burlington, Vermont Rent Compared to Other Cities

CitiesAverage Rent
South Burlington$1,614

Utility Costs in Burlington, Vermont

The average renter in Burlington, VT pays between $165 and $210 per month in basic utilities. Utilities may fluctuate due to the weather, energy used, and efficiency of appliances. On top of the basic utilities, internet can run $87.50 or more each month.

Those who still use cable will pay $45 and $90 per month, depending on the package. Utility costs are much higher for homeowners in an average 1,800 square foot home. Homeowners in Burlington can spend up to $850 in bills during extreme winter or summer months.

Waste management is another factor in monthly expenses, and plans start at $9.27 per week from Waste Management. Some renters will have trash included in their monthly rent, while others will not. Similar to the cost of living in Irvine, CA, many renters are provided free recycling containers when moving into their unit.

Taxes in Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, VT has higher taxes than other cities across the United States. The state’s tax system consists of a state sales tax, local sales taxes, local property tax, state personal income tax, estate tax, and a range of extra excise taxes on things like cigarettes and gasoline.

Sales Taxes in Burlington, Vermont

Vermont’s base sales tax is 6%, which applies to goods and some services in the state. Though, there are some items that are exempt. In addition to the base rate, there are a number of cities in Vermont that impose their own local option tax on top. Burlington collects an extra 1% local tax rate, bringing the total sales tax rate in the city to 7%, compared to the national average of 7.3%.

The most notable exemptions to this rate are for food, medical equipment, newspapers, prescription drugs, some over-the-counter drugs, and clothing. Motor vehicles in Burlington are subject to a 6% tax levied by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, meaning they are exempt from the local option rate.

Gas Taxes in Burlington, Vermont

While gas purchases in the entire state of Vermont are not subject to a sales tax, there is an excise tax on fuel. This means that Burlington residents pay a tax of 12.10 cents per gallon for regular gasoline, and 28 cents per gallon for diesel. This gasoline tax is relatively on par other New England states.

Property Taxes in Burlington, Vermont

Property taxes rank in Vermont rank among the highest in the nation. Homeowners in Vermont pay an average of $4,300 a year in property taxes. In Burlington, however, property taxes are even higher.

Burlington is located in Chittenden County and residents in this county are responsible for paying a 2.96% property tax rate on assessed property value. In other words, homeowners in Burlington, VT spend $9,249 each year on property taxes if they own a home with the median value of $312,700.

Income Taxes in Burlington, Vermont

The state of Vermont has a progressive income tax system, similar to the federal income tax system. This means that the amount you pay in state income taxes is dependent on your taxable income. There are four tax brackets in total, ranging from 3.35% to 8.75% for the top earners in the state. Though, the top marginal rate only applies to single filers who make over $204,000 in taxable income and married, filing jointly filers who make more than $248,350.

Burlington residents only earn an average of $25,234 as individuals and households bring in an average of $42,745. Compared to the national averages of $28,555 and $53,482 respectively, the higher taxes in Burlington can leave residents with less cash in their pockets.

However, one must consider that students living in the city full time while studying full time have an impact on the average income calculations for Burlington. That said, the following table shows how tax rates in Burlington compare to the rest of the country:

TaxesRateNational Average
Sales Tax7.0%7.3%
State Income Tax6.8%4.6%
Property Tax2.96%2.31%
Gasoline Tax12.10 cents per gallon (regular)29 cents per gallon (regular)

The average American uses 656 gallons of gasoline per year, and that means you may spend up to $496 in gasoline taxes in Burlington. Fortunately, many residents live, work, and play in the same neighborhood. This keeps commute times down and may reduce the amount of gasoline tax paid each year.

Food & Grocery Costs in Burlington, Vermont

As with most cities across the globe, shopping for groceries and preparing meals at home is the most affordable way to live. Groceries are 10% more expensive in Burlington than in the rest of the country, which quickly adds up. A couple can easily spend upwards of $500 for organic and brand-name food items each month.

Basic groceries, such as a gallon of milk, can be expensive and average $3.96 per gallon. Essentials like one dozen eggs or a pound of chicken are costly, priced at $4.62 to over $6.00, respectively.

FoodAverage Cost
Gallon of Milk$3.96
Pound of Chicken$6.66
Pound of Beef$6.00
Dozen Eggs$4.32
Pound of Apples$3.50
Restaurant Meal$20.00
Dinner & Drinks For 2$75+

Burlington is home to numerous restaurants that are worth visiting whenever the monthly budget allows for it. A date night out for two with dinner and drinks easily starts at $75. Those who wish to dine alone for any reason will pay an average of $20 per meal.

Transportation Costs in Burlington, Vermont

The transportation cost of living index in Burlington is 79.2, which is higher than the state index of 77.9 but lower than the national average (100). Transportation costs are another important factor that you must consider in order to determine the overall cost of living in a particular location. These include expenses such as gas prices, public transportation costs, and car insurance premiums.

Gas Prices in Burlington, Vermont

Between the gas tax and the price per gallon, driving in Burlington can be expected. The 12.10 cents per gallon gasoline tax is prevalent throughout the state. Currently, the average cost of gasoline in Burlington, Vermont is $3.20 per gallon.

Assuming you have average driving habits you will need to purchase 656 gallons of gasoline per year. This means you’ll spend up to $1,600 at the pump in Burlington. Of that amount, over $496 in taxes will be collected by the state.

Location Average Cost
Burlington$3.20 per gallon
Vermont$3.36 per gallon
United States$3.28 per gallon

Public Transportation in Burlington, Vermont

Green Mountain Transit offers bus services across Burlington and throughout the region. Children under 6 years old ride the bus for free. Seniors over 60 and children aged 6 to 17 years old receive a discounted fare, which means they only pay half price. Property identification is required and must be presented in order to access the discounted fare.

Public TransitCost
Single Fare$1.50 / $0.75 (discounted)
10-Ride$15 / $7.50 (discounted)
Monthly Pass$40 / $20 (discounted)
Month Bus Pass$45.00

At this time, there are no annual passes. Online orders are limited to five single fare passes per transaction.

Annual Car Insurance Premiums in Burlington, Vermont

The average cost of car insurance in Burlington, Vermont is $821 per year, which is lower than the national average but pretty on par with the state average. In fact, drivers in Burlington spend about 43% less than the national average on their annual car insurance premiums.

Though it’s important to note that your rate can vary based on your age, driving record, the insurance company that you choose, and whether you opt for full or minimum coverage.

Education Costs in Burlington, Vermont

Burlington offers K-12 education through its highly rated school district. However, parents who wish to have their children obtain private education can expect a hefty price tag. The annual cost of private education in Burlington is $20,000 per year.

The University of Vermont is the largest highest education provider in the area. Tuition costs come in at $16,392 with proof of in-state residency. Those moving to Burlington to attend can expect to pay $41,280 in out-of-state tuition.

Champlain College is a second option for students who want to further their education. However, this private college boasts a higher price tag. Those who opt to attend will pay $42,564 for tuition alone.

Those costs provided for both higher education options do not include textbooks, meals, housing, or other fees. Students should estimate another $10,000 to $20,000 throughout the court of their education to cover these costs.

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Final Considerations

The cost of living in Burlington, VT is 11.5% more expensive than the United States national average. Groceries, medical care, and utilities are at least 10% more expensive than other areas across this nation.

Tax rates are high compared to other areas in the United States. With a local sales tax of 7.0% and income tax of 4.6%, residents have less cash in hand each pay period. With the high property tax rates, a resident who owns a home at the $312,700 median value in Burlington will pay $9,249 in property taxes each year.

Those who opt to avoid high annual property taxes may opt to rent at the average $1,400 per month. Burlington, VT is an exceptional city to live in with beautiful scenery and picture-worthy seasons, which make the higher cost of living worth every penny.

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Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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